Major Milestone for Lowcountry Rapid Transit

In case you missed the news last week, the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG) received approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to initiate project development for Lowcountry Rapid Transit (LCRT) under the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts Capital Investment Grant program, a program that funds fixed guideway transit capital projects.

The Capital Investment Program is a competitive grant program that appropriates roughly $2.3 billion each year to fund light and commuter rail, streetcar and bus rapid transit projects. While this approval does not guarantee funding, it does make the project eligible for funding once all steps are completed. It also allows money that is spent moving forward to be reimbursed if the project is awarded the grant.

The Project Development phase is step one of a multi-step process. During this phase, BCDCOG has two years to finalize the environmental review process and select a locally preferred alternative in order to continue being eligible for federal funding.

In short, this approval from the FTA means that Lowcountry Rapid Transit is moving forward…and that’s something we all can celebrate.

Identified as one of the Chamber’s top infrastructure priorities, Lowcountry Rapid Transit will connect downtown Summerville, North Charleston and the Charleston Peninsula by creating a 23-mile bus transit line along the most heavily-traveled commuter corridor in the region.

Steady population growth, the desire to preserve open land, traffic congestion and shifting resident expectations practically demand a future that includes mass transit options. Coupled with the appropriate zoning, this envisioned 18-stop line will offer opportunities for walkable commercial and residential development connecting employees to employment centers, transit-oriented development and park-and-ride facilities at certain stations.

Our hats are off to the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments on reaching this milestone!

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